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Generating the right data

This blog was posted by Jessica Ziebland on February 8, 2015 as part of the CultureHive Digital Marketing Academy. You can find out more about the project here.

My next set of experiments focussed on a quite limited and specific area of work to see what answers our current data could give us, and where there was a case for finding out more.

Our Circus Experience Days are often viewed as a ‘way-in’ to the organisation, they’re one-off circus workshops on a Saturday that require no prior experience. Taking  this as my first question: “We think Experience Days are an entry point – are they?” I pulled some reports off our booking system, to look at the number of people who go on to book other things with us (longer courses, tickets for performances) after attending an Experience Day. The numbers were small – since 2011 I found that 62 people had gone on to book something else (either another course or class or a performance) after attending an Experience Day.

The next part of the plan had been to look at whether the teachers teaching on any given day affected the number of conversions but, given the small numbers converting at all, it seemed likely that the results wouldn’t have been conclusive. When data sets are that small it’s hard to draw much in the way of conclusions from them.

I then did something that I often find myself doing when I’m looking at data – I’m not sure what it’s called, maybe ‘mucking around with no clear purpose’ – I tried comparing some different slices of that data. I compared the percentage of people who had gone on to book new things this year against the previous two years… and there was a slight but notable increase (2.3% up to 3.7%). At the start of this year we began sending emails in advance of Experience Days, letting people know what to wear, when to be here and how to follow us on social media and sign up to our mailing lists. It appears that this initial contact has had an affect on the ‘conversion’ rate of people joining us for other activities. Interestingly, the people who were booking other things with us were no more or less likely to have signed up to our mailing list, but it seems likely that they were following us on social media (I’d like to be able to answer that question, but at the moment I’m not quite sure how source the data/ or compare it).

My next question was about generating higher numbers of Experience Day visitors – how to encourage more people to come. We’ve had a lot of success with user-generated content in other programme areas (our Higher Education students and professional members love sharing photos and videos of themselves training, particularly on Twitter and Instagram) so I took a look at the numbers of people visiting the Experience Day pages on our website who had come to us via Social Media (slightly less likely than for other programme areas overall, but more likely to have come through Twitter, Facebook or Yelp) and/ or who were using smartphones (28.9% vs 25.7% on the rest of the website). We pulled some stats from our booking system about the ages and location of our Experience Day participants and found that they were usually between 25-40 and lived in London. Collectively, these results suggested that social media and smartphone usage was likely to be high amongst these visitors.

Next we looked at encouraging people to share their experiences with their families and friends. We’re aware that we can’t see the numbers doing this via Facebook (Facebook is becoming a big problem for me given the very limited data it gives us) so I tried a more old fashioned route as a test – email. It seemed to have worked well with the pre-event emails so why not post-event?

Post Experience Day emailIn order to encourage people to share their experience with their friends we did a couple of things in the email:

  • We took a photo of the human pyramid the group created at the end of the workshop, and made that the header image on the email.
  • We added a discount code – 10% off – that could be shared with family and friends.

In conclusion: as with my previous experiments, it partly worked. We had a booking for at least two people that used the code. Out of the 17 people the email was sent to, that was a pretty good return (11.76%) but…

Total honesty here: I screwed up when setting up the code. I left a box unticked on our booking system which meant that the code automatically applied to anyone who booked for a couple of days (so some lucky people got cheaper Experience Days). It also meant that during the period that it was automatically active for, I don’t know if anyone was booking because they’d been referred the email. (My two people, above, booked after I’d removed the automatic setting which is how I know there were at least two – in theory it could have been many more.)

My next blog will be about… FAILURE (and why it’s okay in the end).

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